“And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness [and] put on the armor of light; …put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Rom 13:11-12, 14)
Advent Newsletter 2013
We are all on a journey. And like the three wise men who traveled across the desert following the star to be in the presence of this newborn King who was the Christ, God is leading us---each of us---in a journey into our own deeper encounter with the same Christ.
God sees this journey clearly, where we are and where we need to be, and how to best guide us to our destination. He sends us people and circumstances to aid us. He sends us signs and ‘stars’ to reflect upon. And God knows how to work even our difficulties for good along the way.
But keep in mind that while there is only one Christ to discover at the end, there are, in a sense, two journeys we make to get there. One will be an external journey---the way we live and practice our faith outwardly. The other will be an interior one---the journey we make as we follow the desires and motivations of our heart, what we dwell on in our thoughts, and the more ‘interior’ ways we live. I mention two journeys because we can be doing all the right things on the external one and still make little or no progress on our interior one.
Both journeys, though, will challenge us to make choices that either draw us closer to Christ and his holiness, or draw and pull us in another direction. Even now, perhaps, the smallest choices can be making a difference in our journey’s end.
But we can remember that:
Quiet stillness to listen and pray will help. Determined efforts to follow the way of the Lord instead of the way of the flesh will help. Rejoicing in God’s goodness’, love, and constant faithfulness to us will also help.
During this season of Advent I would like to offer a suggestion:
Reflect especially on the journey of your interior life. Reflect on its growth, reflect on the signs God is sending, and on your own choices to follow, or ignore, his leadings of Love.
Then, whatever encourages, supports, and deepens your closeness to Christ and helps you grow as a true reflection of his selfless love, follow that way. Do this every day of Advent. And if we do, by the time we celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas Day there will be, I believe, a new and deeper ‘birth of Christ’ in our own lives---in our heart, our thoughts, and in our desires and actions.
What joy for us when we get to that place of seeing Christ’s presence come to life in deeper and richer ways. It will be worth the time we took to pray and be still before Him. It will be worth the struggle and the dying-to-self choices we had to make. It will all be worth it, and we will rejoice with deeper faith, a firmer hope, and more authentic love in our heart. And that would be a beautiful ‘gift’ to give to the Christ child on Christmas morning.
Blessings of Advent joy to you all. Cricket